Daniele Manin

The Funeral Monument of Daniele Manin, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Venice
On the north side of the Basilica San Marco, virtually hidden behind a set of elaborate railings, stands a grand porphyry sarcophagus. It is the final resting place of Daniele Manin, a lawyer and Venetian hero, who, on March 22nd 1848, led a rebellion against Austrian rule. 
The Funeral Monument of Daniele Manin, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Venice
The uprising lasted for seventeen months, but was finally suppressed by the Austrian army in August 1849. Manin and his family were exiled to Paris, where he eked out a living giving lessons in Italian (two of his pupils were the daughters of Charles Dickens). Manin never returned (alive) to Venice, but died in his city of exile on September 22nd 1857. 
Fasces on the sarcophagus of Daniele Manin, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Venice
In 1866 Austrian rule in Venice and the Veneto came to an end and the city and the region became part of the Kingdom of Italy, which had been formed in 1861. Two years later, on March 22nd 1868, the twentieth anniversary of the uprising, Manin's ashes were returned to Venice, where he was given a state funeral. 
March 22, 1866, and the return of Daniele Manin's ashes to Venice
Manin's supporters wanted his remains to be interred in the Basilica, but this was met with stiff opposition by the clergy and some members of the nobility. In 1875 his sarcophagus was placed in the Piazzetta dei Leoncini, against the north side of the church. 

The sarcophagus, which was designed by Luigi Borro, rests on four bronze lions. On its lid an open book is propped up against a set of fasces. In Venice, the lions come as no surprise, but why the fasces? 

Etruscan in origin, the fasces were a bundle of wooden rods and an axe, which were tied together with strips of red leather. In ancient Rome, the fasces symbolised the power of the magistrates and were carried in procession by the lictors. The fasces were also the origin of the name of the Italian Fascist Party. 


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